Fighting for “the Hood”

A community leader’s unwavering commitment

(Blogger’s note: To read the PDF files accompanying this post, click on the link  Storm Water PDF, hit download block and open with Adobe.

Typically, when I sit down to find a subject for this blog, I have to do some serious digging and researching in order to come up with a suitable topic.

This post, however, is an exception because the topic came to me. Literally.

Let me explain.

As I was looking outside my front door, I noticed a truck with a cage on top and what appeared to be a raccoon in the cage. My first thought was, “What the heck am I seeing?” Then I noticed that standing on my front porch was Lee McBride, the president of the Boston Courts Community Association. It was his truck, his cage, and his trapping that had imprisoned the raccoon.

Needless to say, when Lee asked me to get my camera and accompany him, I did so immediately. After all, it’s not every day that a caged animal comes to your doorstep.

And the story was off and running, so to speak. (Except for the raccoon, which was unhappily spending time in its cage.)

Lee began the journey by explaining the trapped animal—he has trapped several raccoons on his property because the pests could, given the chance, destroy his home and spread disease. After all, they are the most rabid animals in Maryland. And, unfortunately, Baltimore County does not handle the removal of raccoons, or any other animals for that matter. Therefore, Lee took it upon himself to get the license to trap and destroy the raccoons. He explained that he had to wait two weeks to get a reply from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources about how to handle the problem.

But the discussion of homestead dangers didn’t stop at fuzzy animals. As Lee provided me with a guided tour of the neighborhood, he particularly pointed out the ills that are plaguing the area. And, being the diligent type, I documented them to alleviate any doubt from my readers.

As I snapped picture after picture, Lee went deeper into the numerous problems found in our neck of the woods. The details he gave were a sordid tale of what can happen to a neighborhood that is neglected by either the residents or the local government.

Before my “fans” start with the “I’m always negative, harping on the down side” comments, just take a moment to review the photos. I would think that it would be difficult to argue with the facts that come from these pictures, especially since these facts speak much louder than my humble opinion.

In a nutshell, the neighborhood has been impacted and destabilized by numerous issues: crime, sex, drugs, government inaction, lack of accountability (not uncommon in the county), and a monster section of woods and/or overgrown weeds. The last one on that list seems to provide a haven for numerous critters of the four- and two-legged variety.

(I want to point out that I have often used the word “destabilized” in describing the kinds of issues that impact communities if not addressed. I know some will argue with that choice of wording, but I stand behind it.)

A sizeable part of the problem has to do with the growth (or overgrowth, depending on your point of view) that has taken place in the heart of our community. The PDF files accompanying this blog demonstrate that the county is somewhat confused regarding their responses to Lee, particularly regarding how to deal—or not deal—with this issue. Unfortunately, the inaction has led to a host of other issues that the pictures aptly describe.

The pictures should give you a good idea of what I saw that day, though I did leave out some of the more disgusting photos showing condoms littered about the area. One could presume these were discarded by prostitutes that are using this desolate part of our community as a “place of business,” but that would only be an assumption. Still…

Additionally, I was taken aback by the number of used syringes that were discarded on the street and grass. Somehow, I don’t think they were used for insulin or vitamin shots.

Lee told me that he is working with the North Point Precinct Outreach Program in an effort to address some of the issues and criminal activity in the area. However, budget restraints play a prominent role in this ongoing problem. Lee also said that, despite the fact that members of the community “are not willing to help themselves,” he is not going away until those responsible deal with the mess that has been created.

Kudos to you, Lee. I wish there were more people like you in our community.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kelly Blue August 29, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Actually,when you stick to simple community issues and stay away from the conspiracy stuff it's helpful and worthwhile. This can be a very constructive piece. Let's hope we get the help we need and the community gets involved.
Buzz Beeler August 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Kelly what you have to understand I have documents on everything I write. Who do you think tells me about these issues? Not all of them are true and that is why I spend a great deal of time researching. I follow up that with advice from organizations such as Common Cause. I don't create these issues I just write about them. I never cross the line into personal matters and never will. I focus on the county code and charter. It is very clear. I suggest everyone read it. Don't you think there are people in the county who have legitimate complaints that need to be vented. The ADA case is one of them. You can't tell me that you would agree with the Homan case. If I can't back up my articles with solid evidence, I don't write them. I fully understand the attacks and could care less. Watch the movie "All the President's Men" and you might get a more concise picture. There is a quote in the movie that is very appropriate that goes: "We didn't make them do this stuff." That came from a Washington Post editor during the height of the investigation. I was a cop for 39 years and learned you never go to court unprepared. You must have all of your ducks in a row.
Kelly Blue August 30, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Sorry but you don't . Most of the time it's a conspiracy about something. In fact I'd rather the county challenge these workers on their entitlements vs just paying them off. As you are well aware there are those that take advantage of the county and never put a good days work in. And does a 71 yr old laborer make any sense to you. I'm all for living a full life but really do you think that person could continue to do the job as it was described?
Buzz Beeler August 31, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Does hat include the officer who lost a portion of his leg when hit by a drunk driver while investigating another DUI. Does that include Mr. Homan's little romp on the desk with the county attorney? Does that include him firing the woman who happened to walk in a see this. Speaking of 71, I spoke to a woman tonight at Home Depot who worked there for over 15 years. She also works another job as well. Do you know the average age of a congressman or senator? How old are you and I can probably tell you because I know who you are. I won't disclose it because I'm an honorable person. Name one conspiracy that I wrote without documentation? Wait till Tuesday and see what is coming your way. As I said regarding the famous movie line, "We didn't make them do this ...!" You really want to talk about challenges? I think you know what I'm talking about. No one challenged that deal either. On the PD when you turn 65 as long as you can pass the physical you are good to go.
LeeMcBride August 31, 2013 at 08:13 AM
First of all, I would like to thank Buzz for writing the article. Boston Courts really needs the help
LeeMcBride August 31, 2013 at 08:23 AM
Sorry it posted before I was done. We are a home owners association. I did not want to destroy the animal, as it is another living thing. DNR gave me two choices..let it go where I caught it or destroy it. It is illegal to take a trapped animal to the middle of nowhere and let it go. I am sorry I did have another choice...pay a trapping company 500-1000 dollars to do the same thing. What would you have done?
Buzz Beeler August 31, 2013 at 08:27 AM
Lee, you are a dedicated community leader and I have seen you work hard to make this community a better place to live. Thank for your kind words and I hope that in some way this helps. We will just keep at it until it works.
LeeMcBride August 31, 2013 at 09:28 AM
That's funny cause I feel like a failure, as the harder I try the worse the community gets. That is why I thought to give you a try. You seem to get things stirred up and that is what we need. Until the residents of Boston Courts stand up and say I am mad as hell and not going to take it anymore all we will get is empty promises. I think that the County wants to help, but this place has so many problems that they do not know where to start. They gave the builder his security deposit back three years ago and received the deeds for the ponds and local open space, but to this day have not executed them. so, we remain in limbo. We are the forgotten stepchild of the County!!!!
LeeMcBride August 31, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Thank you Kelly Blue for your comment and support. Any ideas on how to get the community involved. I have been door to door and spoken to everyone who lives here. Circulated numerous petitions that 98% of the residents signed. Organized cleanups that more kids than adults showed up for. I guess that they feel that it is a waste of time, but I wish that they would realize that together we could solve our problems.
LeeMcBride August 31, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Now I see. You never have anything positive to say. Check out the DNR website if you do not believe me. If I had let it go you would have been the first person to turn me in. where do you live? I will bring the next one to you and you may set him free.
Amanda Richards August 31, 2013 at 05:47 PM
The other side of the neighborhood could look nice but there is only a group of people on the other side of villager circle that cuts the pond and the middle of villager circle if other people in the neighborhood would join together and help clean up the neighborhood instead of the same group of people then the neighborhood would look nice as it is suppose to look simple as that
LeeMcBride August 31, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Donnie, you left out your address. Where should I bring it? And thanks in advance for your help
LeeMcBride August 31, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Thanks for the vote of support. Sadly, things are so bad at Boston Courts that we even need and would except Donnie's help.
Buzz Beeler September 01, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Amanda, I noticed a difference in the areas you referenced. I know there are some rental properties in our area and bank owned homes that look neglected.
Buzz Beeler September 01, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Lee you just have to ignore this whatever this DD is. The immaturity of their postings reveals some serious issues.
Buzz Beeler September 01, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Raccoons can infest a home and make it uninhabitable. They can spread rabies and are a health hazard if not properly managed. The will seek shelter in the attic of a home and can multiply quickly into a situation that can even overwhelm the experts. There are documented cases where their feces can seep through the walls and actually destroy a home making it unlivable. To view the potential problem go to this Animal Planet production of this issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OVyQHazPMY
Buzz Beeler September 02, 2013 at 06:26 AM
Absolutely brilliant response. Well thought out and researched. Which part is the bull and which is he crap? I guess the street light went out right in the middle of your well researched reply. I am so impressed.
Buzz Beeler September 02, 2013 at 09:14 PM
If people are not familiar with this thing then I tell them what it is and to advise them to ignore him. Now how hard was that to comprehend. If the reader is unaware of the subject matter in order for them to get a heads up I provide that information. Then after reading some of his postings they can make their own decision. Do find that so difficult to follow?
LeeMcBride September 03, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Why don't you two grow up. I wanted this article posted because we need help. You two are making a joke of the whole thing and are keeping good people from joining to help.We all can see that you two do not like each other. We get it, and to everyone else...please do not let the BS between these two keep you from commenting. We at Boston Courts need and welcome your help and opinion. Remember there will always be haters, but we should never let them win!!!!!!!!!!!!!
George September 03, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Dundalk Donnie "But what's the sense in killing the Raccoon? It's already trapped and in a cage. Take it to the middle of no where and release it. Killing it is sadistic. " Judging by your fat picture, you eat caged semi intelligent animals ( pigs, cows, etc... ), but for some reason killing a rodent is sadistic? You certainly are a USDA grade "A" idiot.
George September 03, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Would flood lights, or motion lights in the dark back area work? http://www.homedepot.com/p/Veranda-4-in-x-4-in-Black-Plastic-Square-Solar-Panel-Post-Cap-2211-F11B/202654978#.UiYseT9xW-8 Would be cheap ones for the fencing post.
Buzz Beeler September 03, 2013 at 03:03 PM
George, some good thoughts and lighting is a major deterrent to crime. A like your answer to the (not sure what it is) naysayer. If you get chance cut and paste that story on Animal Planet regarding this very issue. I'll bring that up to Lee regarding the lights. Again, thanks for your thoughts. They were spot on.
George September 03, 2013 at 11:19 PM
huh? who's playing the guitar? Big game hunters? Who let you have an internet connection in that white padded room?
LeeMcBride September 04, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Caught another raccoon and he needs a new home...still waiting for your address DD
Karen Lilli September 04, 2013 at 07:17 PM
I don't want any part in the fight that seems to be taking place on this blog but I live in Boston Courts and my issue is not so much with the wild animals in the neighborhood; it is more so the drug addicts, drug dealers, prostitutes and lack of police presence. I understand the animal issues but that's the least of our problems when these people start infesting our neighborhood and cause our family to feel less safe. I see drug deals go down right out front of my house and even when you contact the police, they show up 2 hours later. I didn't read all of the comments but I think I saw something about more lighting which I feel is a great idea. It wont stop the problems but it may deter a little if they feel out in the open. I will also be writing the county executives regarding my concerns with the decline of our neighborhood.
George September 05, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Well, start taking pictures, writing down license plates. Send it to the county. Drugs and prostitution will not stop itself. I've seen the aftermath so far but have not seen it happen.
LeeMcBride September 05, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Laura, Read your email and was surprised to say the least until I considered the source. I was not going to reply, but people like you are the reason that people with good ideas are afraid to share their responses and that is not right. You did make a couple of good points. If everyone would take the pride in their property like you the community would be a much better place, but our problems would not magically disappear. I wish it was that easy. Maybe you could teach us how to make our homes look like the best in the neighborhood. You are also correct when you say That I was not elected President of the HOA. I was appointed by the Board of Directors. Please read the HOA addendum and bylaws that you signed at settlement. It will explain the process and the dues that we all are required to pay and how the dues are to be spent. You seem to be the one that is soley focused on herself. How did you phrase it? There are no problems at your house and everyone should mind their own business. is this really what you believe? I am a little confused. First of all, when I hand delivered the flyer who was the one complaining about trash, parking, and the property behind yours? Wasn't that you? Maybe you are equally as clueless about the prostitution and other crime issues in Boston Courts too. Maybe they do not occur in front of your home, so they do not concern you. I guess that you choose to turn a blind eye to the major rat infestation as well, but wasn't it you that told me that a rat had entered one of homes in your group? Not your house...not your concern. Is that your reasoning and the way you live your life? If so, I feel sorry for you. That brings us to your next point...everyone should mind their own business. Well that is how we got into this mess in the first place. Everyone was too busy minding their own business, so our little problems grew into the epidemic that we now have. If we continue on our current course this place will not be fit to inhabit. That is why a group of us are trying to do something and are asking for everyone to help. If you chose not to help...we understand, but please do not continue to spread your lies and more importantly do not get in our way because then you have become part of the problem.
LeeMcBride September 06, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Buzz, I was wondering if you could see what the County Police think about the ponds and the public safety hazard that they pose. Let me explain. Wednesday the Police chased a suspect into Boston Courts. There were about 20 officers in the neighborhood looking for this person and they determined that he was in the pond, but they could not see him due to the overgrown condition of the pond. Many could not or would not go over the fence and into the pond. I do not blame them. it is next to impossible to see in there let alone walk on the inside of the pond fence. The helicopter responded, but was no help. K9 units responded and finally found the suspect. An officer even lost a phone in the thick weeds. I just wonder what their thoughts are concerning this issue.
Buzz Beeler September 06, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Lee, my best suggestion is to join the Police Community Relations Council at the North Point Precinct. This way you (and others) will have a strong voice in dealing with this and many more subjects. The captain and his staff attend these meetings. As to the weeded area we already know who the culprits are in this matter. The documents are clear on this issue.
Buzz Beeler September 20, 2013 at 09:27 PM
I have delete all comments by someone who has created an account in my name. It appears to be a person that goes by the name of Jack Salty. He has flooded my blogs with such comments.


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